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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A rough run and some calf pain.

Yesterday's run was supposed to be an easy three miles. Turns out I have been running an extra mile on some days. I ran the three miles. Problem was, it wasn't easy.

The first half of the run went well. My legs felt good, the pace felt comfortable, I even considered speeding myself up a bit to get the run done faster. Then, about halfway into my run, my calf started hurting.

At first it was just a slight twinge, which didn't seem like a big deal. But as I ran it started to become a serious ache. I slowed down for a bit, and it seemed to work out some, so I upped the pace again, ache came back, Slowed down, ache eased up, sped up, ache came back, rinse, repeat. You can see all the peaks and valleys on my run pace because of it.

The last bit of the run was actually the easiest bit. The ache had (mostly) worked out, and I was cruisin for a bit before hitting the three mile mark. I thought my calf had worked itself out. I hopped in the shower quickly to "ice" my legs a bit, and then headed over to my in laws for dinner. Shortly after I got there I could feel my calf (it's my left calf specifically) tightening up. I tried to stretch it a bit, and ended up doing this weird stretch with my left heel off the floor, acting like I'm trying to push my left knee into the ground at the same time, which was the only thing that seemed to stretch the specific spot that was aching. The ache just wouldn't let up, but it didn't get any worse. When we got home from dinner I put a heat pad on it for a bit, which seemed to help.

Today I can still feel it a bit, but it's nothing too bad right now. I'm going to put a heat pad on it again when I get home tonight, and try my best to rest up. We'll have to see how Thursday's run goes. I'm kind of hoping to make it to the group run this Saturday, and do my long run with the running group. I'm going to aim for 8 miles, so I sure hope this calf thing goes away before then.

Fingers crossed.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Retooling the plan

Part of my issue lately is that the day that I have my long runs on, Sunday, has become the catch all for us to DO ALL THE THINGS on. This has resulted in my skipping my long run more weeks than not lately. After a solid week of running, when this happened again this week, I came to the conclusion that I need to move my long runs. My long runs are more important than another short run. So, I'm going to start flipping my two weekend runs. My long run henceforth will occur on Saturday (when I seem to weirdly have no issue getting my run in,) and Sunday will be a nice short recovery run. It will be glorious.

The run I did accomplish this weekend (my Saturday run,) was actually kind of a great run. I felt good, comfortable. I ended up pushing the pace a bit at the end because I had a lot left in my legs. Looking back on it I might have pushed it a little too hard, but it didn't feel like it at the time. We had actually gone for a short walk with our daughter and our dog that morning too, so I'm not sure exactly where it happened, but at some point I guess I must have over stressed my calf. By that evening my calf was aching. It really felt like just a knot in the muscle, but it's been persistent (I can still feel it a little today,) so maybe it was a good thing I couldn't do my long run.

I was struck by how this week, I did three four mile runs, and they seemed....not easy, but comfortable. The distance didn't feel like the 'ohmygodi'mgonnadieitsofar' it used to. It's a good feeling to realize that I am making progress.

This week my goal is to get all of my runs accomplished, and to actually follow the training plan this week (instead of just running four miles because that's what I think is on the training plan.)

Friday, February 21, 2014

Back to it!

Ok, so I haven't been blogging regularly. Luckily that hasn't meant that I haven't been running. I've (for the most part) been able to fit my runs in around my unusually busy schedule this past week (or so.)

After the last run I blogged about, I had a rough run. Thursday the 13th, I was unable to get my feet on a treadmill until after 9pm. So I was tired before I even laced up. I was super proud of myself for getting on the treadmill for this run though, especially since I've struggled lately with my motivation. After I started, my legs just felt tired. I was so exhausted, physically, that I ended up cutting the run short at 3 miles. I still consider it a victory.

Saturday the 15th, I showed up for my first ever group run with the local chapter of Moms run this town! I was really nervous, for a lot of reasons. I had not run outside since that first disastrous attempt at running in the snow right after winter started. Also, as I've mentioned before, I am horrifically shy. The run was part of a virtual 5k the group was putting on to benefit Safe Journey. The run started out good, but I could tell right off the bat that these girls were faster than me. I was determined not to be the 'slow' one, so I kept pushing it to keep up with the fast pace, even as my legs started to complain about navigating the snowy sidewalks and roads. I did not have any cleats or YakTrax or anything on, and running in the snow was exactly how I've heard it described: like running in cold wet sand.

By the end of the run I was really struggling. I was at the back of the pack. I was feeling awful. One of the women was running with me, and talking my ear off. She's a big proponent of the run/walk method (although she ran the whole time) and was off the next weekend to do a ultramarathon trail run in florida. There was no doubt in my mind that she was hanging with me to keep me moving, even though I really wasn't very talkative. I had to save my breath for running!

When we finished the run, the woman hosting the run had put out a great spread for us all, and surprisingly (to me) we got a swag bag! I was totally not expecting that! I stuck around as long as I could, enjoying a mini bagel, fruit and some coffee before I had to head home. The swag was incredible! There was a nice blue glass coffee mug, an amazing key chain, some hot chocolate, a luna bar and a sweatband. So as awkward as I felt, and as awful as I did during the run, it was totally worth it. The women were very nice, and I think I'll run with them again soon, especially now that I've got myself some slip on cleats for my shoes!

Point of note, my nike+ app insists that we ran 3.46 miles, even though the course mapped on mapmyrun is only 3.14 miles (a 5k). I did do alot of weaving back and forth across the street, so maybe that accounts for it? I'm not sure how much to trust the average pace it's giving me, but it says I averaged a 10'55" pace. Which is way faster than my normal runs.

All of that might explain why Sunday, my legs ached, bad. My calves were fine, but my thighs were two knotted balls of badness. I eventually decided to call my long run off for the week, and let my legs heal. So Sunday was a fail, running wise, although I did get a lot of walking in at the Mall when I went with my Sister-in-law to get her some new workout duds! (I also got myself a new running shirt - it's a little snugger than what I normally wear but I figure by spring it should be perfect.)

Tuesday I was back on the horse (treadmill) and feeling good. My legs felt fresh and the run felt amazingly easy. I just kinda ran for four miles. I even had enough in my legs to push the pace a couple of times. (I was kind of on a time crunch and wanted to get the run done so I could get over to my in-laws for dinner.) It felt good to have a solid run to start the (running) week, and I had seriously high hopes about getting this whole training thing back on track.

Thursday almost knocked me out. I wasn't able to get on the treadmill until after 9pm. There was a moment (again) where I almost said "Screw it. I'm too tired." I thought about it, but I was determined to get myself back on track, and I needed a solid week to do that. So I laced up for another late run. Once I was on the treadmill I felt good. I didn't feel as tired as I thought I would (or had felt the last thursday.) I was able to push the pace a few times towards the end of my run. I was really proud of myself for knocking this one off, even if it meant I had to miss watching the inaugural woman's half pipe skicross competition.

I have high hope for finishing out this week strong. I'd really like to have a solid week on my training plan again. That half marathon isn't getting any further away....

Monday, February 17, 2014

Still alive, still running

Just wanted to make a quick post to say I'm not dead yet!  I'm super busy at work and at home, so the blogging of the runs has kinda fallen by the wayside. I am still running, and have to do a write up of my first group run with a local running group this weekend. I'm hoping to get that up tonight, but with a cranky quasi sick toddler, who knows!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

First solid, good, run in a while.

I ran yesterday! Yay! I'm not going to lie, the past few weeks have been a struggle. Between my own illnesses, my daughter being sick twice, and just general life craziness, I was down and almost out. It was a very near thing. Not only was life knocking me around (and interfering severely with my running schedule,) but my running mojo was just...gone. I had no desire to push it. The times I did get my butt on the treadmill, I felt awful, slow, tired, happy only once I was done (and even then a few times not so much.) I seriously considered that maybe I would not be able to complete the half marathon training (let alone push to train for the eventual full.)

There were some low points in there.

This week, I was (and still am) determined to pull it out. Despite the fact that I still have a lingering cough. Despite the fact that my daughter is sick again. Despite the fact that it's still too cold and snowy to run outside (I have no Yaktraks. I need to fix that.)

I stepped on the treadmill yesterday with the mindset that I was just going to run. Just let it ride and try to finish out the four miles. I had kind of a time crunch going on (it was 6:30 when I stepped on the treadmill and the In-laws were waiting on me for dinner,) and try as I might I couldn't push that out of my head, so I kept pushing my pace. I ran a lot of the run at what my treadmill calls a 3.8, and some of it at 4.0 (spoiler alert my treadmill is horribly mis-calibrated.) I'm starting to think I need to recalibrate the nike+ app again, since my splits don't really show that I was running faster than my normal 3.5 on the treadmill.

This run felt hard. But I was expecting it, since I haven't been running consistently for a while. The surprising part was that there were parts of the run that felt good. Even when I was pushing my pace and really running hard, there were long periods of time where I felt like I could just run. Yeah, there were a lot of points where it became a total head game to keep myself running (like when I checked my phone and saw I had only run 2 miles,) but really, most of the run was good, even as I pushed my pace up to finish strong.

I really needed a strong run to get me back in the game. Especially since a friend just convinced me to sign up for a color vibe run in April. I figure it'll be a nice fun run to add into my half marathon taper.

For the first time in too long, I feel like I can do this.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Loosing my running mojo.

Tuesday's run was ok. Really that's all I can say about it, which is good I suppose. It wasn't a slog, It actually felt like a decent run. It was only four miles, but it was nice to have a run that didn't feel like it was going to kill me.

I totally forgot to post my milage for the winter miles challenge last week, or update my total for "run this year". Oops.

I'm sorry this post sounds like such a downer. I'm having trouble keeping my running mojo up it seems. I'm hitting one of those points where sticking to the plan is getting really tough. Both because there are a million things pulling me off track, but also because my dedication to the plan is wavering. I'm not enjoying the runs right now.

The weather around here is most definitely not helping. I haven't been able to run outside in months, and as much as I can distract myself while running on the treadmill, I think it's really taking a toll on my desire to run. I've been looking into getting myself some Yaktraks or something so I can try to run outside soon. We're in the middle of yet another massive winter storm, which is dumping more snow than anticipated on us as I type, and there's yet another one waiting in the wings to supposedly wallop us this weekend, so the chances of there being any dry paths anytime soon is slim to none.

I know I've just got to push through this, get through the next couple of runs, and just hope it feels better soon. I've got a group 5k run coming up this weekend that I'm hoping to attend, which I hope will get me back into the groove.

Until then I just need to hang tough, and keep at it.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Late post, and a rough run.

This sunday was the first time I did not complete the entire run I had on the schedule. I can point to the reasons why I was not at my best going into this run, but in my head they all sound like excuses. I had only gotten five(ish) hours of sleep the night before, and while I usually run my long runs in the afternoon, Sunday was going to be a very busy day for us (a first birthday part and a super bowl party on the same day,) so the run had to be done in the morning.

After dragging myself out of bed and downstairs, I made waffles for breakfast for the three of us, ate a waffle, played with my daughter a bit, and then when she went down for a nap, suited up and set myself up on the treadmill.

Almost from the start I was struggling. It wasn't any one thing in particular, I just felt like lead. I tried really hard to just run, and not pay attention to the clock or how far I had to go, but around mile 2, I kept feeling like I had already run forever, and should be way farther than I was.

I pushed myself to finish out six miles, and then let myself have a walk break. It was all I could do to convince myself to start running again and finish out the next mile, but that was it. I called it at 7.

I had a nine mile run on the schedule, but there was no way I could finish it out. So 7 miles it was. I feel odd that I'm disappointed with a 7 mile run. Not that long ago I was extremely proud of myself for finishing five miles. I keep trying to remind myself of that, of how far I've come in such a short period of time.  Looking at the splits, I know it was a decent run. I kept a respectable pace over the course of the run. I finished out the seventh mile, even though I wanted to quit way back at mile three, and pushed through that last mile even though I had already checked out on the run at mile 6.

I still feel disappointed in myself for cutting the run short. I know that about 85% of that run was mental, and I just didn't have it. I'm a little worried at the continued trend of rough runs. I'm hoping that the next few feel less tough.

This week is going to be another challenging week. Case in point, I started writing this post on Monday, and I'm just finishing it up today. I'm going to be cramming my runs in around a very busy work schedule, watching the lectures for the class I'm taking, and actually going out and having a life. I'm hoping it'll work out, but we'll see.